Testing new things is vital to maintain and improve your skills, and to challenge your creativity. It is also the best time to allow yourself to fail with no consequences on your business. This is why I, from time to time propose test shoots to experiment new ideas and try new tools.
I’ve always been attracted to sports and especially athletics but never got the opportunity to meet or be part of a project involving such athletes. During the last summer, I decided to update my website and to show more of my work outside dance photography. I needed new, fresh images to enrich my portfolio and decided to set up a few collaborations to have them ready for the launch of my new website mid-September. On a side note, I wanted to keep my website up and running so the updates were made slowly all summer and the whole thing should be done in a few days. As you may have seen on social medias, I am actually in the south of France on the French riviera, and I soon discovered there were actually a few athletes here that might help me make my first steps in Athletics photography.
After thinking about what I wanted to do, I contacted a few of them and got to meet Manon Eple for a first photo shoot. Nothing crazy, we actually talked a lot about the sport and what we can do creatively. For the first pictures, I just captured a few portraits and tried to use flashes for a couple action shots. It was a disaster for me, as I was uncomfortable with the randomness of the process. Placing lights and having control on them was a real challenge. None of the pictures made suited my tastes although Manon was doing a fantastic job!
That’s what I was referring to by allowing yourself to fail. Since it was a test shoot, these pictures are for us to learn and grow, no client or brand to give account to.
I learned so much during this first experience with Manon and decided to stop short our collaboration and give us a 2nd shot later this year.
With this new experience, I was a bit more confident for my meeting with Athlete Emma El Achkar. I felt way better during this shoot and got better results at the end of this session. Although I feel I still need to practice my hand on this, I am glad I did it as it highlighted so many flaws in my photography. I am super excited to meet Manon again in October. I had time to think this through and have tons of ideas I wish to test with her.
Huge thanks to both athletes, I am so happy to be able to still experience first times in my life!
How about you? Do you do test shoots? How do you improve your skills these days?